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Anger and confusion mar ODM Party primaries

Aspirants’ agents argue with a police officer at Nyamira primary school when they failed to agree on which register to be used during nominations on 18/04/2017. Those representing James Gesami wanted an IEBC register used while those representing governor John Nyagarama wanted to use an ODM register. they later resolved to use the one sent by ODM elections board.[photos sammy Omingo/standard]

Tension, confusion and anger continued to dog the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party primaries.

Voting had been scheduled to take place in Nyamira, Nakuru, Kajiado, Taita Taveta and Trans Nzoia counties.

But the exercise failed to take off in many polling stations.

Across many stations, the exercise started late or failed to take off altogether over problems with voter registers, names of aspirants missing on ballot papers and late arrival of election material.

Similar hiccups were witnessed last week in Busia, Bungoma, Machakos, Kakamega, Turkana, Samburu and Narok counties.

In Busia, the contest for governorship between the incumbent Sospeter Ojaamong and Funyula MP Paul Otuoma saw the National Elections Board call for a repeat of the poll in Teso North and South constituencies on April 25.

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In Nyamira County, tempers flared as bitter differences between aspirants saw voters forcibly shut down some polling booths after some of the hopefuls alleged foul play and interference with the voter registers.

While some of the aspirants wanted presiding officers to use the ODM register, others insisted on using the one from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

While Nyamira Governor John Nyangarama insisted the ODM register should be used, his opponents – West Mugirango MP James  Gesami and John Kumenda – said the exercise would only be credible if the IEBC register was used.

There was still confusion on whether it should be called off and conducted afresh, given that many people did not vote.

Gesami said over 15 polling stations did not have a legal register and wondered how the exercise was allowed to continue.

In Nakuru, police arrested two suspects with crude weapons during the primaries.

Confirming the arrest, Nakuru police boss Joshua Omukata said the suspects were linked to one of the aspirants.

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Polling in Nakuru Town West for parliamentary aspirants was later postponed due to anomalies in the ballot papers.

At the Coast turnout in Taita Taveta County was high in spite of heavy rains, logistical problems and late delivery of voting material to various polling stations.

The two leading contenders for the ODM governorship primary Governor John Mruttu, and Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu traded accusations over manipulation of the outcome.

Tension has been high since Monday when armed youths invaded a training session for clerks at the Mwatate CDF hall on Monday and destroyed property of unknown value.

Voting at the station began at 2.00pm for lack of material and other logistics, and was further delayed by heavy rains.

Across in Trans Nzoia County, confusion characterised the exercise, with aspirants trading accusation over plots of rigging.

Delayed delivery of balloting material to polling centres especially in Saboti Constituency triggered protests from party members.

The exercise went on smoothly in only seven out of the 25 polling centres after ballot boxes were provided.

Violence broke out in Matisi Ward, with two people suffering injuries when rival groups clashed over the delayed delivery of nomination material.

The exercise was also stopped indefinitely in some polling stations in Kajiado County over allegations of rigging.

The aspirants claimed about 4,000 ballot papers allocated to the polling centre were missing.

The exercise was postponed in Nakuru Town West, Kitengela, Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River and Lamu to Saturday April 22.

But so far the nominations have been successfully conducted in 12 counties

 

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